Newspapers set to enjoy ad growth

ZenithOptimedia has revised its forecast for advertising growth upwards in the UK following a “stronger than expected” first half.

Ad spend is now predicted to grow 2.9% in 2010, equating to a shade over £11bn. In April the forecast has been for a more modest 1.3% growth this year, or just under £10.5bn.

Forecasts have been revised most dramatically for newspapers, with the first five months of the year having been “very positive”. National press is doing “particularly well” with revenue growth up 9.5% year-on-year. The TV market is also performing “strongly”.

On the back of this, the forecast has been revised putting total newspaper advertising at 1.9% down year on year – in April the forecast was set at 5%.

However, there was a warning. “Whilst this is all very encouraging, speculation about the robustness of the second half of the year is providing some concern, with July and August in particular causing some anxiety,” says a spokeswoman.

A quarterly survey by Bellwether recently revealed that 20% of marketers adjusted spend downwards in three months to 30 June. The reverse came as a blow following the rise of 4.5% Bellwether uncovered in the first quarter when marketing budgets increased for the first time since the global economic crisis started.

The future is also uncertain for other markets. The TV market is expected to continue its strong performance into July and August, though the impact of the recent budget may affect the outlook beyond that.

ZenithOptimedia’s UK forecast puts TV advertising up 7% year on year, compared with a drop of 11% witnessed in 2008/09.

Radio is forecast to fall 2%. The withdrawal of COI advertising in the run-up to the election (it accounts for around 10% of the market) had an impact earlier this year. The fact that COI is also rumoured to be cutting budgets by 50% will also affect end of year figures, says ZenithOptimedia.

Outdoor advertising is predicted to rise 9.8%, with internet advertising up 4.6%.

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